What to do if an oral conract states that I would inherit the land owned by my father, however in his Will it is not directly stated?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What to do if an oral conract states that I would inherit the land owned by my father, however in his Will it is not directly stated?

My father recently passed. My sister is executor of his Will. It was previously known to no less than 5

people that I was to stay on the land that he owned. However, now I am being forced out by my sister and brothers because it is not directly stated in his Will. Durring the reading, I was told that it was an empty promise, although I have witnesses who know that I am to have the land. Do I have a leg to stand on?

Asked on December 30, 2018 under Estate Planning, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, you do not have a legal leg to stand on, unfortunately. An oral promise or even contract has no power over what happens to property after someone passes away: only a properly signed and witnessed written will controls the distribution and inheritance of assets. Oral contracts or promises have no effect.
Therefore, the property will be distributed according to the will. If real estate is going to more than one person (i.e. more than one heir), that typically involves selling it and distributing the money, since money can be divided much easier than land. Any heir who wants the land would have to buy it for its full market value; and anyone living on it can be forced to leave to facilitate the sale. You have to buy them out because they are entitled to their money from the real estate: you don't have the power or right to make them not inherit.
If you father had wanted you to be able to live/stay on the land, he should have  put that into his will.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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